Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data, acquired at two-meter resolution by an airborne ADAR System 5500, were compared with fraction of photosynthetically active radiation (FPAR) absorbed by commercial vineyards in Napa Valley, California. An empirical line correction was used to transform image digital counts to surface reflectance. "Apparent" NDVI (generated from digital counts) and "corrected" NDVI (from reflectance) were both strongly related to FPAR of range 0.14-0.50 (both r(sup 2) = 0.97, P < 0.01). By suppressing noise, corrected NDVI should form a more spatially and temporally stable relationship with FPAR, reducing the need for repeated field support. Study results suggest the possibility of using optical remote sensing to monitor the transpiration crop coefficient, thus providing an enhanced spatial resolution component to crop water budget calculations and irrigation management.